Compared to most recent years, when for example I recorded 165 species in the county in 2011, 187 in 2012 and 173 in 2013, this has been a particularly poor one with just 157 species recorded by mid December - one of my worst years on record


It's all over - 2012 has come to an end. I managed a total of 187 out of the 198 species recorded all told in Buckinghamshire - 94% of the total - probably my highest-ever annual tally.

The current record is 191 species achieved in 2006 and held jointly by both Rob Hill and Simon Nichols

Monday, 9 September 2013


A lot of rain fell today - in fact it was raining on and off throughout daylight hours. Winds were very light though and as expected, a few passage terns and waders were 'downed' in the conditions...
First off, one intrepid observer located and photographed a juvenile CURLEW SANDPIPER at WILSTONE RESERVOIR (HERTS), as it remained on view from the Drayton Bank Hide until at least 0800 hours. As soon as I heard it was there from DB and PR, I dashed over - joining both Francis Buckle and Jack O'Neill in the hide. Apparently, both Mike Campbell and Mig Wells had connected, but despite an exhaustive search of the reservoir, there was no further sign of it for us. A COMMON GREENSHANK was nice (photographed by Lucy Flower yesterday), whilst the juvenile LITTLE RINGED PLOVER had moved up to the mud in front of the hide. The Black-tailed Godwit that Dave Bilcock had seen at dawn had also moved on, whilst Mike Wallen had 4 Red Knot fly east early evening.

 Over on the SE shoreline and viewable from the jetty, the SPOTTED CRAKE was putting on a good performance, feeding out in the open for at least an hour late morning; all 4 WATER RAIL were there too, as well as the 2 dredging GARGANEY, 370 Common Teal, 3 Common Snipe, 58 Wigeon and 12 Little Egrets.
Also noted were the 4 HOBBY, the first-winter LITTLE GREBE, 41 Mute Swans, 37 Northern Pochard, 8 Common Tern and a migrant flock of 52 House Martins.
I then returned home to dry off (the heavens opened at the Spotted Crake) but as I recovered, Adam Bassett texted to say that 3 SANDWICH TERNS had flown through SPADE OAK GRAVEL PIT, LITTLE MARLOW (SOUTH BUCKS), one of which had doubled-back and returned to the spit. I made my way there and was very pleased to find it asleep with Black-headed Gulls at the very end of the spit and subsequently took a series of photographs (see below). It remained for the next hour - certainly long enough for Graham Smith to connect.

 Not much else of note though - the Bar-headed Goose with the plethora of Greylag and Atlantic Canada Geese, a single Little Egret, 4 Egyptian Geese and some Great Crested Grebe feeding young.

I spent the rest of the day at WORMWOOD SCRUBS LNR (CENTRAL LONDON) where David Lindo had discovered a juvenile Common Rosefinch on Saturday. The bird had been seen shortly before my arrival but despite grilling the hawthorns, Buddleia, Elder, Willow and Poplar scrub of the embankment for over two hours, I failed in my quest to relocate it - 8 Dunnocks, 6 Blackcap, 4 Common Whitethroat, 2 Meadow Pipit and 19 Ring-necked Parakeets being scant compensation!

A Dunnock in the Blackberry scrub

The London skyline from the Scrubs